Readers' letters: Scots south of the border are still Scottish

John McLellan’s excellent piece on Ruth Davidson and Scottish rugby (Scotsman, 11 July), reminded me of being classified by the SNP as “not being a proper Scot”, or “un-Scottish” because I (and 800,000) others live south of the border.

I am as much a Scot now as I was back in 1952 when my dad came south to work in London. My sister lives in Morayshire; cousins, nieces and nephews in Glasgow and Edinburgh. I have a Scottish accent and am fluent in Glesca slang.

I was a Corries fan way back in distant times and had high tea with Ronnie Brown at his Edinburgh home.

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Watching Scotland play home or away rugby internationals on TV I always don my Scottish Grand Slam 1993 pullie, now with countless moth holes and sing Flower of Scotland, which, as an anthem, doesn’t bear comparison with the stirring Cwm Rhonda or La Marseillaise. Even Ireland, Ireland stirs the blood.

Scotland captain Jamie Ritchie receives the Cuttitta Cup from Princess Anne after the Six Nations Rugby match between Scotland and Italy at Murrayfield in March. (Picture: Stu Forster/Getty Images)Scotland captain Jamie Ritchie receives the Cuttitta Cup from Princess Anne after the Six Nations Rugby match between Scotland and Italy at Murrayfield in March. (Picture: Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Scotland captain Jamie Ritchie receives the Cuttitta Cup from Princess Anne after the Six Nations Rugby match between Scotland and Italy at Murrayfield in March. (Picture: Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Princess Anne’s longtime allegiance to Scottish rugby and knowing all the words of the Corries’ anthem makes her part and parcel of the Murrayfield legend. As John McLellan says, Flower of Scotland is divisive but we all sing it.

Ruth Davidson, a former soldier, brings integrity to anything she’s involved with. The SRU will benefit from Ruth’s amiable but pragmatic contributions. She doesn’t just wait for someone else to stop speaking – she listens. When she speaks, she has something to say. That she is a former politician is neither here nor there. Scott McCarthy’s petition and that of the 9,000 others who have signed it, is sheer bigotry.

Maybe Ruth can sit with and Princess Anne at Murrayfield and do a harmonised Flower of Scotland, with appropriate descant?

Doug Morrison, Cranbrook, Kent

Joining the EU

The Scotsman tells us (11 July) that the Scottish Information Commissioner has ordered the publication of documents relating to a secessionist Scotland’s chances of joining the EU, documents that have been kept secret by the SNP regime.

Joining the EU has since 2013 been a major promise made by the SNP in its prospectus and propaganda promoting separatism. This has the rationale that Scotland would (allegedly) be leaving the UK to be part of the larger EU and would therefore not be casting itself entirely adrift in a cold and lonely world. That many separatist supporters do not want to join the EU is seen as a minor inconvenience.

The SNP campaigned in the 2019 general election on the basis of leaving the UK for ‘Scotland in Europe’. Off the cuff comments by individuals connected with the EU who said they would welcome Scottish membership were portrayed as statements of intent. Yet Scottish ministers have never been prepared to release advice or analysis about the bread and butter issues that would face Scotland as an EU applicant. What have they got to hide?

One can but surmise that EU officials have told the Scottish government the hard truth: that Scotland would have to comply with EU requirements regarding currency, central bank, lender of last resort and deficit, and that there would be no exemptions and no special allowances.

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It is part of the scandalous apparatus of the devolution settlement that Scottish ministers can avoid transparency on such an important issue, and that they can evade Freedom of Information requirements regarding it. The time really has come for a complete overhaul of the Holyrood system to ensure that ministers are wholly accountable and not simply able to hide from voters advice and decisions that do not suit their political priorities.

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh

Children welcome

We are writing to express our shock and grief that Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick ordered the cartoon murals at the Kent Intake Centre in Dover to be painted out. It seems strange and cruel to remove murals which might help to make children feel reassured, while at the same time trying (as we are told) to improve the facilities.

We are all children’s authors and illustrators and some of us have written about refugee children and even worked with them. Some of us know from experience that the trauma these children have been through is noticeable months or even years after arrival. We all know about the hazardous, terrifying journeys they have been sent on, and the conditions they have been sent here to escape. Some of them have lost their entire families.

It has been said that the murals were “too welcoming”, but we would ask who this action sends messages to? Not to the people smugglers, who are only interested in money, and the absence of murals will hardly stop desperate parents entrusting their children to the smugglers. But when children arrive in the centre, the presence of cheerful murals will help to hearten them.

The UN convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by the UK, states: 'Every child deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, and in a manner which takes into account the needs of persons of his or her age.' The action of removing the murals, because they are 'too welcoming' is not, we believe, in the spirit of this clause, and if it applies to children who have been detained because they have broken laws, how much more does it apply to these children, who have committed no crime.

Michael Rosen, Philip Pullman, Onjali Rauf, Frank Cottrell Boyce & 57 others

Toxic cruise ships

Transport and Environment, a European clean transport pressure group, has just published an astonishing paper on European cruise ship companies.

It indicates that the cruise ships of just one parent company emitted 43 per cent more SOx (oxides of sulphur) than all the European petrol and diesel cars combined in 2022. SOx is linked to asthma, bronchitis and acid rain. NOx (oxides of nitrogen) emissions from cruise ships increased by 18 per cent when compared to 2019. Toxic effects of NOx include increasing susceptibility to respiratory infections and exacerbating heart and lung disease. The paper warns on switching cruise ships to LNG as the ships that already use LNG emit as much climate-changing methane as 62,000 cows.

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Why aren’t cruise ships being targeted with draconian legislation in the way that private cars are?

Geoff Moore, Alness, Highland

Big idea

The former Home Secretary Priti Patel was wrong to say that there is no single solution to the steady stream of illegal migrants across the Channel. There is a single solution and it’s the same one that would also reduce the illegal drug tidal wave to a mere trickle. Both problems are created by a single factor: criminal Mr Bigs.

Eliminate the various Mr Bigs behind the trafficking of people and drugs and the trafficking ceases. Why else do we have an expensive Secret Service if it isn’t to find and eliminate our enemies?

Tim Flinn, Garvald, East Lothian

Baillie’s bang on

An excellent article from Jackie Baillie MSP (“Yousaf’s plan for council tax could be his Truss moment”,11 July).

She points out a leaked paper from local authority umbrella body Cosla which has suggested council tax increases ranging from 7.5 per cent for band E and graded up to 22.5 per cent for band H to boost funding. She also correctly points out that the £1 billion black hole in Scotland’s finances next year is entirely due to SNP incompetence.

Jackie Baillie mentions revaluation of properties as one way forward but this would take many years and this was why it was never considered. A quicker way would be for all adults over 25 and under 75 to contribute by way of a fixed amount on top of the annual council tax bill since they are all benefiting from the council facilities. There are over three million people in this age group so do the sums.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow, West Lothian

Greens’ influence

Scotland no longer has what one might term a competent government at Holyrood. The combined forces of the SNP and the Greens have so clearly led to chaos in so many administrative sectors that the extent of their misjudgements is becoming legendary.

And since the Green MSPs are wholly unelected, it is undemocratic that they have so much influence on important political decisions. Members of Scotland’s electorate have every right to question their misplaced authority.

Robert IG Scott, Ceres, Fife

Irish colonisers

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I admit that I laughed out loud when I read Andrew Docherty’s letter (12 July) stating that Scotland is a colony. Then, I reconsidered and – you know what? – he is bang on the money. Scotland has been colonised for centuries and the proof is right in front of our eyes.

Consider these important facts: the leader of the SNP at Westminster is Stephen Flynn; the Chief Whip is Brendan O’Hara. The recently-imprisoned SNP MP was Natalie McGarry. The failed SNP leadership candidate is Ash Regan. All of these SNP MPs and MSPs are of Irish extraction, as their surnames attest. Even my best friend is of Irish origin. Proof that the Irish have been colonising Scotland for centuries and, let’s face it, they either run things, in true colonial fashion, or hope to do so, and they don’t forget it. A bit like President Biden telling the BBC, “I’m Irish!”

Dr Docherty should bear these points in mind when he makes such accusations. After all, Docherty too is an Irish name.

Andrew HN Gray, Edinburgh

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